That, unfortunately, served as a summation to the 2012-13 season. West Virginia stood and watched Jamal Williams' shot bounce out, but not one of them took a step toward the ball. Texas Tech's Devan Kravic, unchecked and more open than the plains west of Kansas City grabbed it and laid it back in to give the Red Raiders a 71-69 win in the first game of the Big 12 Championship. The play was a microcosm of WVU's season -- do something well, then give it away -- and one that explains why this team is the second-worst in terms of losses in the 100+ year history of the school.
Explanations from the players on the floor varied, but centered on the perception that the clock would run out. That assumption proved fatal.
"I thought the time was going to expire after the guy shot it," Aaric Murray siad. "I wa swatching, and the next thing you know #11 got it and laid it back in. I said why didn't I box him out, but I just stood around and let him lay it back in."
"My assignment was in the corenr, I was kind of anticipating him to follow it," Domininque Rutledge said. "I thought it would come off [long] but it came off short. Right place, right time, I guess."
The blame wasn't all the bigs, however. Everyone on the floor was rooted to their spot, and no one made a move to grab the ball, even though there was no reason for them not to.
"Our credo for as long as I've coached has always been to get to the ball. It's hard to win when you don't get to the ball," head coach Bob Huggins said. "And this group, for whatever reason, is the worst the we've ever had at getting the ball."
That, of course, wasn't the only problem with this team. Once again, West Virginia dug itself an early hole, falling behind by 16 points less than seven minutes into the game. The Mountaineers failed to cover Tech perimeter shooters, yielding five open threes WVU still trailed by 14 with six minutes remaining in the half, but managed to whittle the deficit to five at the half.
In the second half, the Mountaineers slowly chipped away at the deficit, and finally tied the score at 50-all on Deniz Kilicli's lay-up with 11:57 to play. From there, neither team managed an advantage of more than four points, which Jaye Crockett gave the Red Raiders with a three with 4:17 to go. However, WVU responded with a pair of threes to move ahead by two. From threre, free throws came into play as WVU went 3-6 in the final three minutes after going 11-12 prior to that time. Texas Tech made just one of three over that span, setting up the disappointing final sequence.
West Virginia was also hurt by two technical fouls, both for too much talking, which resulted in three Texas Tech points. Murray picked up one in the first half after being warned to stop, and Matt Humphrey got another in the second. Humphrey was pulled from the game and did not return.
West Virginia finishes the season at 13-19. only the 2001-02 squad lost more games. The Mountaineers lose three seniors (Deniz Kilicli, Dominique Rutledge and Matt Humphrey), but more departures are expected. Aaric Murray said after the game that he plans to return.
"If I'm allowed to, I'll be here," he said.
Terry Henderson led the team with 12 points off the bench. Murray added 11 and eight rebounds, while Kilicli, who was on a shuttle between the floor and the bench due to foul trouble and defensive problems, scored ten in his final game. Texas Tech had five players in double figures, led by Jaye Crockett's 18.